Rhode Island’s Domestic Violence Law
In 1988, Rhode Island passed strict new Domestic Violence laws. The Domestic Violence Prevention Act is a comprehensive Act designed to address the serious problem of domestic violence. The Act is intended to protect victims of domestic violence by mandating the police to arrest and the courts to provide automatic protection to the victim. The penalties for violating a domestic violence crime can have serious long-term consequences. You need an attorney like Peter Calo to protect you and your interests if you are accused of domestic violence.
The Domestic Violence Act empowers police to arrest without a warrant persons suspected of domestic violence. In fact, if there is probable cause to arrest the suspect, the police have no choice but to make that arrest. The Act removes any police discretion and mandates an arrest in such situations.
What crimes qualify as Domestic Violence?
Not all crimes can be charged as Domestic Violence. In fact, the Rhode Island Supreme Court has ruled that only a crime that has been enumerated in the Act can be charged as a domestic violence crime. The following is a list of all crimes that are charged under the Domestic Violence Act:
- Simple assault (§ 11-5-3);
- Felony assaults (§§ 11-5-1, 11-5-2, and 11-5-4);
- Vandalism (§ 11-44-1);
- Disorderly conduct (§ 11-45-1);
- Trespass (§ 11-44-26);
- Kidnapping (§ 11-26-1);
- Child-snatching (§ 11-26-1.1);
- Sexual assault (§§ 11-37-2, 11-37-4);
- Homicide (§§ 11-23-1 and 11-23-3);
- Violation of the provisions of a protective order entered pursuant to § 15-5-19, chapter 15 of title 15, or chapter 8.1 of title 8 where the respondent has knowledge of the order and the penalty for its violation or a violation of a no contact order issued pursuant to § 12-29-4;
- Stalking (§§ 11-59-1 et seq.);
- Refusal to relinquish or to damage or to obstruct a telephone (§ 11-35-14);
- Burglary and Unlawful Entry (§ 11-8-1 et seq.);
- Arson (§ 11-4-2 et seq.);
- Cyberstalking and cyberharassment (§ 11-52-4.2); and
- Domestic assault by strangulation § 11-5-2.3
Who can be charged under the Domestic Violence Act?
The Domestic Violence Act only applies to specific relationships. Therefore, if you are charged with a domestic violence crime and you do not fall into one of the relationship categories you may have been erroneously charged. Contact Attorney Peter Calo for a free consultation if you have been accused of a domestic violence crime and he will best represent you and protect your interests.
What are the consequences of being charged with a Domestic Violence crime?
Being charged with a domestic violence crime does not mean you are being charged with a separate crime but rather it requires certain minimum punishments, mandatory counseling and other serious consequences. For example, if someone is charged with a domestic violence crime, a no contact order (NCO) is automatically issued by the judge at arraignment. The NCO prohibits any contact with the victim by the arrestee. Violation of that NCO can result in ten days in prison at the ACI. This can make things difficult and complicate someone’s life, especially those with children in common with the victim. If you find yourself in this situation contact Attorney Peter Calo for a free consultation today to fight for your rights.